Tag Archives: Vice-President

A Battle of the VP’s: Who’s Hungrier?

By Matt Knipple. 

Ever since Presidential hopeful, Senator John McCain, selected Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, as his nominee for Vice President the day after other Presidential hopeful, Senator Barack Obama’s acceptance speech, the election has pretty much been all about Mrs. Palin.  Some would even venture to say that the ticket should be Palin/McCain, not McCain/Palin. 

            The spotlight on Governor Palin has been so much more prominent than any spotlight on the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Joe Biden.  Mr. Biden has been in the shadows the past few weeks it seems but he is starting to come out attacking McCain and his party.  Biden goes on the attack saying that, “We’ve seen this movie before” in reference to the past two terms of George W. Bush and goes on to say that, “And we know, the sequel is always worse than the original.”  Mr. Biden also goes on to say that if the country is ready for four more years of Bush to vote for McCain and even refers to McCain as “Bush 44” in reference to George W. Bush being the 43rd President and McCain possibly being the 44th President of the United States.  Here is a video of Joe Biden attacking McCain, Palin, and the Republican Party:

            Joe Biden is not the only person that is out fighting for their party, Sarah Palin is doing the same thing.  Ever since the shocking selection of Governor Palin as Senator McCain’s Vice Presidential nominee the race has become much closer very quickly, some polls even showing John McCain being ahead since the Republican National Convention.

Palin has gone on the attack of Obama, much more than Biden has on McCain, or so it seems.  This may just be because of how shocking it is she is still the VP nominee but whatever she does seems to be amplified in the news and is seen by many more people.  Many people have seen the quote where Palin says during her acceptance speech, “Listening to him speak it’s easy to forget that this is a man who’s authored two memoirs, but not a single major law or even a reform, not even in the state Senate.”  It’s kind of ironic that she attacks his experience in a way when she is very inexperienced herself but it may work in the end.  She has also said that Obama is trying to save the world rather than keeping an eye on his own country and saving America.  This is a reference to how popular he is in Europe and how the world perception of him may be better than it is here in his own country.  Here is a video of Governor Palin attacking Senator Obama:

In the end the race for President will be between Barack Obama and John McCain, at least it should be, but right now the Vice Presidents have (in Palin’s case) and are starting to (in Biden’s case) be heard and attacking one another’s Presidential nominees.  Right now, Sarah Palin seems to be more effective and helping her party much more than Joe Biden is but that all may change when they show down against each other in the debates.  I hope that Palin can keep the momentum going for the Republicans and that in the end they come out on top but I feel the gap will close once again during the debates between the Vice Presidents.  I’m unsure how well she will do in a debate with an experienced politician such as Joe Biden.  It will be an interesting next couple of months




Filed under Democratic Party, McCain, Obama, Palin, Republican, Vice-President

What if it’s a Tie?

By Leonid Balaban

Last week in class we have talked a little bit on the possible Electoral College tie and I wanted to elaborate some more on this potential scenario.

There are 52 days before the 2008 Presidential and Congressional elections in the U.S and the situation could not have been more obscure. Latest nationwide polls, shown below, represent the race for the While House between Obama and McCain to be statistically tied. By looking at the most recent state by state polls and the newest electoral college map, we can see that the election is very close as well. What’s more, there are anywhere from 7 to 11 battleground states (depending on various polls) where both candidates are within 5% points of each other.

National Polls

Real clear politics Average 09/05 – 09/12

Gallup Tracking

09/10 – 09/12 2761 RV 47-45 McCain +2

Rasmussen Tracking

09/10 – 09/12 3000 LV 48-45 McCain +3

Hotline/FD Tracking 09/10 – 09/12 913 RV 45- 44 McCain +1

Newsweek 09/10 – 09/11 1038 RV 46-46 Tie

State by State Polls

State Obama McCain Margin

Colorado (9) 48.3 46.0 Obama +2.3 Toss Up

Ohio (20) 45.6 47.8 McCain +2.2 Toss Up

Michigan (17) 47.2 45.2 Obama +2.0 Toss Up

Pennsylvania (21) 47.3 45.0 Obama +2.3 Toss Up

Virginia (13) 46.7 49.3 McCain +2.6 Toss Up

Nevada (5) 44.6 45.6 McCain +1.0 Toss Up

New Mexico (5) 47.0 44.7 Obama +2.3 Toss Up

New Hampshire (4) 48.0 44.7 Obama +3.3 Toss Up

Florida (27) 44.5 49.5 McCain +5.0 Leaning

Wisconsin (10) 47.0 41.7 Obama +5.3 Leaning

Indiana (11) 43.3 48.0 McCain +4.7 Leaning


With the election being that close, I would like to contemplate an unlikely but not necessarily an improbable scenario where both candidates end up with 269 electoral votes. The circumstances for this situation would occur if the Obama wins all the states that John Kerry carried in 2004, as well as Colorado and New Mexico but loose New Hampshire.

Another possible scenario would take place if once again the Democrat wins Kerry states, plus picks up 13 electoral votes in Virginia and 1 electoral vote in Nebraska, but looses New Hampshire. If any of those two situations were to come to fruition, we would go to a proverbial “overtime”.

First, before the election becomes a responsibility of the House of Representatives as stated in the 12th amendment of the Constitution, “there would be a 41-day opportunity for either side to coax an elector to switch sides.”[1]

Amendment 12

Section 3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

Section 4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.

If no electors change their minds, then the House gets to vote for the President. Each state’s newly elected delegation will get one vote; that’s means that California and Wyoming will each get to cast only one vote. If a state’s delegation is split evenly, it would abstain from voting. The following table represents what would be a vote for the President assuming that each state’s delegation composition would stay in tact. From the table, we can see that Democrats have an edge of over Republicans of 28 to 20, with 2 states abstaining because of a tie.

























































New Hampshire


New Jersey


New Mexico


New York


North Carolina


North Dakota










Rhode Island


South Carolina


South Dakota














West Virginia






The Vice President would then be chosen by the Senate. It is somewhat unclear as to whether Vice President is chosen by the current Senate or newly elected one. This uncertainty is very important because the current composition of the Senate is 49-49 with 2 independents. Bernie Sanders – Vermont Senator would most likely vote for a Democrat, which Joseph Lieberman – Connecticut Senator, might vote for a Republican. Then, the election, as in the year 2000, would once again be referred to the Supreme Court. If, however, the vote is held by a newly elected Senate, then Democrats, who are poised to gain some additional seats in that chamber, would certainly elect their party candidate as a Vice President.

As bizarre as this election might be, there is a slim chance that we might end up with John McCain as President and Barack Obama as his Vice President.


Filed under Electoral Rules, McCain, Obama, Vice-President

What will the bumper sticker say?

Constitutionally speaking, the Vice President does not wield significant power within the executive branch. Relegated to the “1st loser” spot by the authors of the constitution the only “real” duty of the Vice President lies within the legislative branch as the presiding officer over the senate under which he has actual voting power in case of a tie. While the first VP, John Adams lamented about the insignificance of his office, the role of the VP has evolved over time. In fact, it was not until the Carter administration that the #2 had an office spot in the west wing. Many politicos however, point to Dick Cheney as the most powerful VP to date. With the help of John Woo and others within the office, Cheney has pursued an aggressive expansion of executive power that for better or worse (I believe the latter) will be around for the next Vice President as he or she moves into the west wing in January. What does this all mean? It means that the 2008 election is the first since this aggressive expansion of vice presidential power, thus making the selection of the VP a high stakes game of electoral roulette both for the Mccain and Obama campaigns. The media circus, fueled by rumors and rampant speculation from the talking heads, reached a fever pitch in the last week as we creep towards the nominating conventions. A careful analysis of the race reveals a few key questions that need to be addressed. Who should the candidates consider and who should they keep off the ballot at all costs in November? What criteria will the candidates use to carefully pick their mate and finally who is ultimately going to get the nod?

Let us first take a close look at the old “maverick” John Mccain who has faced some difficulty from the start due to his anti-GOP establishment stances on immigration reform environmental regulation and lets face it, does not have the best “family values” trackrecord to appease the evanlegicals. He lingers in the shadow of an unpopular president and his war, yet he still maintains somewhat of a moral authority on war time issues due to his widely discussed service in Vietnam and his support for the surge. Throughout his years in Washington (and there have been numerous), Mccain has been able to earn the “maverick” label that will most likely allow him to pick up some of the moderates that would have otherwise turned in a different direction. What he lacks is a solid base turn out that Rove and Bush so carefully cultivated in the last two general elections, which leads us to the choices. The media has speculated on everyone from Jeb Bush (a guaranteed loser) to Sarah Palin, a relatively unknown Governor from Alaska. Some others include Bobby Jindal, Tom Ridge and even blue-dog Democrat Joe Lieberman. None of these candidates will ultimately be “the one.” The McCain campaign will settle on Mitt Romney for a few reasons. First, he will pull in the core GOP voters that are suspicious of Mccain and seem to love the idea of a continuation of the “war on terror” and tough treatment (ie. torture) of Gitmo detainees. He is a fiscal conservative with bona fide executive credentials that will compliment the holes in the Mccain campaign.

On the other side of the aisle Obama needs to be very careful with their selection as well. A misstep at this stage could spell disaster for the historical candidate. While Obama seems to be a uniter with a Teflon coat, he has been dogged by doubts on his foreign policy knowledge and his overall experience. According to pollingreport.com a full 23% of the electorate is “not at all confident” he will make good foreign policy decisions. This needs to be one of the highest priorities for the Obama camp as they make their decision. The other major hurdle he will need to overcome is the Hillary factor. According to the maps, he had a difficult time picking up white rural voters in the primary – something that Clinton was able to quite easily with the help of her buddy Jack Daniels (see video). With these major problems in mind, we turn to the list which includes everyone from a former fidelity challenged Vice Presidential candidate (John Edwards) to Hillary Clinton herself. Others include Evan Bayh, Sam Nunn, Joe Biden, Jim Webb and Gov. Kaine from Virgina. While Jim Webb has a wealth of foreign policy and military experience he lacks the necessary executive experience to counteract the experience argument against Obama. An Obama/Clinton ticket will be a disaster as it is antithetical to the “change” Obama has discussed. The ultimate choice lies in Evan Bayh, a moderate white guy (that’s important) from middle America in a largely Republican state. He has campaigned for Obama see video and has statewide appeal that will be able to swing those crucial electoral votes for Barack in November.  He also happens to sit on the Senate intelligence committee (which to some may seem like an oxymoron) and armed services committee – which will serve to bolster Obama’s lack of military experience. So there you have it – Mccain/Romney and Obama/Bayh – look for it on a bumper sticker coming soon!


Filed under Uncategorized, Vice-President

Obama’s Veepstakes

By Lance Thibert

Seeing as one of our classmates has written on a possible choices for McCain’s Vice Presidential pick, I thought I would take it upon myself to write up a list of contenders for Obama’s ticket. He’s already chosen, but we won’t know  who it is until Saturday, at the latest. What I’ll do is give a quick run down of possible VP picks, their pros and cons, followed by my personal prediction. Also, if you haven’t heard, the Obama campaign will be sending out Obama’s VP pick via text message, a rather novel idea that I hope doesn’t show up at 3 am. I’ve added videos of a few of the VP candidates you might not be familar with.

Senator Evan Bayh

Pros: A strong supporter of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Primary, Senator Evan Bayh brings red state and swing state appeal. (Indiana is fairly well in the Republican column in presidential contests) Generally seen as a relative moderate in the Democratic party. Evan Bayh could possibly deliver Indiana, which narrowly (very narrowly) went to Clinton in the Primary season. With 11 electoral votes, it could be a major win for a hypothetical Obama-Bayh ticket. Not that that really rolls off the tongue very well.

Cons: Senator Bayh is not well known nationally, and not particularly well versed in foreign policy issues. Obama’s major selling point of being against the Iraq War from the beginning clashes with Bayh’s postition of being intially for the Iraq invasion. Another senator on the ticket could leave a lack of executive experience on the ticket as well.

Chances: Fairly good I would say, Bayh is a strong contender for the VP spot, given his heartland credentials and and strong speaking skills.


Senator Joe Biden

Pros: Senator Joe Biden of Delaware’s major selling point is his unquestioned expertise on foreign policy issues. Biden is the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and fills a major gap in Obama’s resume. The charge that Obama is naive and inexperienced loses quite a bit of steam if Biden, a foreign policy guru, were to be added to the ticket. Similar cases could be made for Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico and Senator Sam Nunn from Georgia.

Cons: An old plagiarism scandal and a tendency to say…off color remarks may hurt a Obama-Biden ticket. Electorally, Delaware is most likely in Obama’s column already, and Biden seems to have little appeal outside of his state, as seen by a dismal 5th place showing in the Iowa caucus (seems like forever ago). Again, another senator on the ticket lacks executive appeal. 

Chances: Good, the expertise on foreign policy is tough to pass up, but almost everything else seems…mediocre.

Governor Tim Kaine

Pros: Under Tim Kaine, Virginia made the list of Pew’s Top Governed States. The possibility of swinging Virginia into the Democratic column is a tantalizing prospect, with 13 electoral votes. A Governor on the ticket would make a good balance with a Senator, bringing executive experience that Independents are fond of.

Cons: Not well known nationally, as the only major national press Tim Kaine has gotten has been as a possible VP pick for Obama. The loss of a Democratic Governor in Virigina may lead to the office being occupied by…George Allen. (yeah, the macaca guy.) Still, a small price to pay. However the biggest downside to a Obama-Kaine ticket would be that both are relatively new, and John McCain could say he alone has more experience than the two of them combined.

Chances: Excellent, Kaine brings a lot to the ticket without much baggage, and fits into Obama’s campaign theme of change quite well.


Senator Hillary Clinton

Pros: Senator Clinton’s appeal to white working class Democrats and feminists make her a powerful force in national politics, indeed, she garnered 18 million votes in the primary she nearly won. Would immediately solidify the Democratic base, as well as end any lingering questions about the democratic self-destruct button. Bill Clinton would undoubtedly be a campaign asset in small-town America.

Cons: Clinton’s primary campaign was by an large, a dismal failure. She was the by far favorite to win until Iowa. Her campaign, rife with infighting and factionalism was a model democratic campaign, in line with those of 1980, 84, 90…you get the picture. Clinton is a demon to the right, which may turn up the until now lackluster conservative enthusiasm. The campaign she ran was anathema to Obama’s theme of change, but that could either be a pro or a con. Bill Clinton would undoubtedly say something off-message.

Chances: Dark Horse. It’s possible, just not probable. Obama holds all the cards, he’s got the nomination, most of the delegate’s loyalty, and a massive war chest. Clinton has debt and baggage, but the Clinton name may be something Obama is willing to pay for.

My prediction: I predict Tim Kaine will be Obama’s vice presidential running mate. Ralph Nader thinks it’s going to be Clinton. If Ralph is right and I am wrong…well lets just not go there.


Filed under Democratic Party, Obama, Swing States, Vice-President